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Must-Have Monaro

An immaculate and mechanically tweaked Holden Monaro has always been desirable - and they're even more desirable now that production has been axed!

Word by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • Immaculate CV8 Monaro
  • Cam, heads, intake manifold and throttle body upgrade
  • An appreciating modern classic
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We’re at the end of an era.

As of late 2005, GMH will cease production of what is arguably the most beautiful car they’ve ever released – the late-model Monaro.

And that can mean only one thing for current Monaro owners – their cars have just become even more desirable and exclusive. And that will more than likely translate to very strong resale values.

Daniel Mackay’s decision to purchase a curvy Holden coupe has certainly paid off. When he got rid of his previous V6 VR Commodore (which sported a few bolt-on mods) he made a bee-line straight for a brand new Monaro. It was the sexy look that grabbed him – as the head of a successful marketing business, Daniel thought of the Monaro as an indulgence.

That was two years ago.

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But it wasn’t long into his ownership that Daniel noticed the car was relatively difficult to drive thanks to its heavy, clunky 6-speed ‘box and tall diff ratio. A shorter diff ratio was needed and Daniel walked through the doors of Bob Romano Performance Motors (BRPM) to get the job done. Little did Daniel know he would be walking through those same doors on many more occasions...

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After swapping the standard diff centre for a sportier 3.7:1 ratio, Daniel got chatting to Chris Romano about the potential gains of a basic engine upgrade – air intake, exhaust and retune. Daniel liked the numbers he was hearing so it wasn’t long before he was back for some more. The Romanos installed a K&N filter and cold air induction snorkel, Pacemaker headers and a custom 2 ½ inch twin exhaust. The standard engine management was also given a tweak.

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By this time, Daniel had already treated the car to a tasty set of 19 inch wheels with 245/35 rubber and lowered King springs to bring the body down to a visually attractive height. Take a look through the wheel spokes and you’ll find Daniel has also installed a PBR caliper and brake disc upgrade at both ends.

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Inside, the eye-catching Series 3 Monaro trim – complete with red/black leather and drilled pedals – is enhanced with a stealth audio upgrade. A pair of Alpine amps and 12 inch subs are mounted inside the boot while DynaAudio speakers live in the doors. Daniel has kept the standard Blaupunkt head unit because it doesn’t attract attention from thieves and it performs pretty well.

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With the LS1 tuning scene changing rapidly at this time, Daniel found himself hankering after a bit more power to keep up – you know how it is! On another visit to Bob Romano Performance Motors, Daniel gave the go-ahead for a cam and head upgrade. Daniel wasn’t interested in a mild improvement so he specified the biggest possible cam that could be used on the street and the alloy heads were sent away for a precision CNC porting. Upgrade valve springs, retainers and a new timing chain were fitted as part of the process.

The result was 316hp (232kW) at the wheels on BRPM’s Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno – more than enough to see off the majority of other cam and head tickled LS1s.

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But more recently, Daniel has taken the engine to the ultimate stage of development without resorting to forced induction or a stroker kit. The stock LS6 intake manifold has departed the scene to make way for a Fast replacement item with its associated big-bore throttle body. The team at BRPM also enhanced the air intake to use the latest VZ large diameter airflow meter and the VZ pipe which connects to the throttle.

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After its latest engine management tune using VCM Suite, Daniel’s Monaro now pushes a very strong 399hp (293kW) at the wheels. That’s a gain of about 60 percent over stock and there have been absolutely no mechanical issues during the car’s 25,000km life. Engine, clutch, gearbox and diff have proven bullet-proof.

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The presentation of this Monaro is exceptional. Daniel enlisted a panel beater to smooth the beautiful panels and the factory red paint is kept looking its best thanks to top quality polishes and waxes and regular washes.

With Monaro production now probably ceasing, we can only guess that owners of well kept examples will be in a very strong position to sell their machines at a high price. Let’s face it; you can’t buy a newie any more so you’ll just have to pay whatever current owners want! But, despite the potential to capitalise, Daniel isn’t interested in selling his ride.

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Nope. Daniel plans to keep his Monaro looking tip-top and enjoy it all for himself. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll walk back through the doors of Bob Romano Performance Motors for what will surely be the last time - a 6.3-litre stroker would be nice...


Bob Romano Performance Motors (BRPM) +61 7 3395 8255

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